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March 21, 2020

Lk 18: 9-14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

Humility that lifts up others

Today’s reading makes it quite clear that we don’t want to “exalt” ourselves. Rather, humility is the key. But these words—somewhat lofty in tone—may inadvertently leave us paralyzed.

Should I stay silent about my skills in front of my supervisor so as not to appear pretentious? Should I keep my excitement about a new opportunity from my friends to appear humble? Should I sideline my own goals because they might make me stand out?

Separating prideful urges from more humble ones takes real discernment. But the Pharisee in today’s reading helps us see through the fog in his less-than-humble prayer: “God,” he says, “I thank you that I am not like other people.” He’s not concerned with using his gifts for others.

A sure sign of pride is a desire to separate ourselves from those we deem lesser; humility seeks to lift others up.

—Eric Clayton is a senior communications manager at the Jesuit Conference.

 

April 2, 2020

Jn 8: 51-59

Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” 

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Accepting God’s promises

Today’s Gospel concludes the sad dialogue begun yesterday between Jesus and the “Jews who had believed in him.”  Jesus promises, “whoever keeps my word will never see death,” and they try to stone him.

These people took Jesus seriously.  Jesus is God’s word or he is not. He must be followed or rejected. 

Are we half as serious?  How would a faithful person react when God offers something so good as eternal life? 

Jesus cites Abraham’s “rejoicing” at the prospect of Jesus.  In Jewish tradition “Abraham rejoicing” referred to Abraham’s reaction in Genesis, at age 99, when God promises him that he will father a son and many nations.  Abraham falls on his face and laughs. When God finishes talking, Abraham immediately rises to obey God by circumcising himself and his household. (Gn 17:17, 23-24)

Eternal life! Fall, laugh, and rejoice.  Then rise and follow him.

—Deacon Gerald Nora works as a hospital chaplain and gives spiritual direction at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.

Prayer

Lord, come to us;
free us from the stain of our sins.
Help us to rejoice and to follow your word and to live a holy way of life.
Guide us into the eternal life you have promised us
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

—Adapted from today’s Mass collect and closing prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours by Deacon Gerald Nora

Prayer

Let me have too deep a sense of humor ever to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
most truthful,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.

—Daniel A. Lord, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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March 21, 2020

Lk 18: 9-14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

Humility that lifts up others

Today’s reading makes it quite clear that we don’t want to “exalt” ourselves. Rather, humility is the key. But these words—somewhat lofty in tone—may inadvertently leave us paralyzed.

Should I stay silent about my skills in front of my supervisor so as not to appear pretentious? Should I keep my excitement about a new opportunity from my friends to appear humble? Should I sideline my own goals because they might make me stand out?

Separating prideful urges from more humble ones takes real discernment. But the Pharisee in today’s reading helps us see through the fog in his less-than-humble prayer: “God,” he says, “I thank you that I am not like other people.” He’s not concerned with using his gifts for others.

A sure sign of pride is a desire to separate ourselves from those we deem lesser; humility seeks to lift others up.

—Eric Clayton is a senior communications manager at the Jesuit Conference.

 

April 2, 2020

Jn 8: 51-59

Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?” 

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Accepting God’s promises

Today’s Gospel concludes the sad dialogue begun yesterday between Jesus and the “Jews who had believed in him.”  Jesus promises, “whoever keeps my word will never see death,” and they try to stone him.

These people took Jesus seriously.  Jesus is God’s word or he is not. He must be followed or rejected. 

Are we half as serious?  How would a faithful person react when God offers something so good as eternal life? 

Jesus cites Abraham’s “rejoicing” at the prospect of Jesus.  In Jewish tradition “Abraham rejoicing” referred to Abraham’s reaction in Genesis, at age 99, when God promises him that he will father a son and many nations.  Abraham falls on his face and laughs. When God finishes talking, Abraham immediately rises to obey God by circumcising himself and his household. (Gn 17:17, 23-24)

Eternal life! Fall, laugh, and rejoice.  Then rise and follow him.

—Deacon Gerald Nora works as a hospital chaplain and gives spiritual direction at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House.

Prayer

Lord, come to us;
free us from the stain of our sins.
Help us to rejoice and to follow your word and to live a holy way of life.
Guide us into the eternal life you have promised us
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

—Adapted from today’s Mass collect and closing prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours by Deacon Gerald Nora

Prayer

Let me have too deep a sense of humor ever to be proud.
Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly.
Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human,
most truthful,
and most worthy of your serious consideration.

—Daniel A. Lord, SJ


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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